President Kimball was the prophet of my childhood.
I loved him.
I knew he loved me despite my color (which is not very much) and race.
I knew that I mattered.
I remember when he died. It was hard for me. I cried and kept the newspaper clippings about his death and life in my journal.
President Kimball is my prophet. (I have loved all the others so this might sound silly. I wrote a little about Pres. Monson here.)
I know that sounds selfish and perhaps a little strange, but I feel like I have claim over him. Perhaps we all do.
I have loved the other prophets who have served, but the bond seems different. Perhaps it was because President Kimball is the first prophet whose impact was huge on my young life. He was there as my young tender testimony of the gospel began to grow.
Perhaps it's the passage of time and as I look back affectionately he is part of those memories. I can still hear his raspy voice, unique, comforting, and lovely. I am so thankful that I can go and listen to his voice anytime I want. The church has provided past conferences from before the time I was born. I don't remember any specific message that President Kimball gave, not from my memories. I have studied many as an adult, but as a child I only remember how I felt when he spoke.
Today as we prepare for another General Conference I look at my children and wonder if they will have the same affection towards the prophets of their youth. Will they look back at one particular prophet and say "he is my prophet"? Will they well up with tears hearing his voice? Have their testimonies been influenced by who he is and how he lives his life? Will they cherish his testimony and teachings?
No matter who their prophet is President Kimball will always influence their lives. I am continually asked if we are related and those same people always tell me a story of how he influenced their lives and how much they love and respect him. I hear experiences where he would tenderly embrace someone or have the person lean down so he could give them a kiss on the cheek. He made people feel loved.
I love the story my father in law, affectionately known by the grandchildren as Oopa recounts. One day he was walking with President Kimball and he asked Oopa how they were related. Oopa responded, "my great grandfather is your father's 1/2 brother". To which President Kimball replied, "Allen, there are not fractions in the Kimball family".
I think he felt that way about all people. I hope that my children will learn to love in that same way. That they will see beyond any difference and see that a person's true worth and value. I know their father has that same kind of love. I hope that they will cleave to their testimonies of our Savior, Jesus Christ. That they will follow His example in loving and serving all with whom they associate. I hope that they will always know that I am striving to learn, grow, and become a better mother through these same principles. I hope they will remember how much I love them.